Defining Sex and Gender


"Sex" refers to the biological and physiological characteristics that define the differecne men and women. "Gender" refers the social and psychological aspects of being female or male. Sex Chromosomes are the 23rd chromosomes in humans that differ between the sexs and determine a person's sex as male or female. In females, both of the sex chromosomes are similar and are called X chromosomes. In males, they have and X and Y chromosome. Gonads are glands that are in male and female. In the female, they generate ova (eggs) and in males generate sperm. Other biological features include genes, hormones, genitals, and secondary characteristics. Disorders of sexual development, which is present at birth, conditions in which the development of chromosomal, gonadal, or anatomical sex is atypical.Transgender individuals are sometimes suffering from Gender Identity Disorder, when on feels strongly about the cross-sex identification and with a continuing discomfort with, or sense of inappropriateness, of one's assigned sex. When individuals suffer from this disorder, reconstructive surgery is an option. Most transgender individuals do not consider reconstructive surgery. Some usually go for homrmone thearpy.




Sexual Orientation

“Sexual orientation” is a term frequently used to describe a person’s romantic, emotional or sexual attraction to another person. A person attracted to another person of the same sex is said to have a homosexual orientation and may be called gay (both men and women) or lesbian. Individuals attracted to persons of the other sex are said to have a heterosexual orientation. Sexual orientation is different from gender identity, which refers to the internal sense of whether one is male or female. Sexual orientation is a relatively new concept. In fact, although same sex behavior has always existed, the idea of a homosexual identity or a homosexual person is only about 100 years old.
The concept of sexual orientation refers to more than sexual behavior. It includes feelings as well as identity. Some individuals may identify themselves as gay lesbian or bisexual without engaging in any sexual activity. Some people believe that sexual orientation is innate and fixed; however, sexual orientation develops across a person’s lifetime. Individuals maybe become aware at different points in their lives that they are heterosexual, gay, lesbian, or bisexual.
No one knows what causes heterosexuality, homosexuality, or bisexuality. Homosexuality was once thought to be the result of troubled family dynamics or faulty psychological development. Those assumptions are now understood to have been based on misinformation and prejudice. Currently there is a renewed interest in searching for biological etiologies for homosexuality. However, to date there are no replicated scientific studies supporting any specific biological etiology for homosexuality. Sexual abuse does not appear to be more prevalent in children who grow up to identify as gay, lesbian, or bisexual, than in children who identify as heterosexual.
Fears and misunderstandings about homosexuality are wide spread. They present daunting challenges to the development and maintenance of a positive self-image in gay, lesbian and bisexual persons and often to their families as well. “Homophobia” is a term that refers to the irrational fear and prejudice against homosexual persons. Public opinion polls in the United States show that in the past twenty years, feelings toward gay men, lesbians and bisexuals have moved in a significantly positive direction. Nevertheless, when compared to other social groups homosexuals are still among the most stigmatized groups in the nation. Hate crimes are prevalent. Gay men and lesbians are still banned from serving openly in the US military service. Child custody decisions still frequently view gay and lesbian people as unfit parents. Gay and lesbian adolescents are often taunted and humiliated in their school settings. Many professional persons and employees in all occupations are still fearful of identifying as gay or lesbians in their work settings. Gay relationships are not widely recognized in any legal way.
When a person “comes out “ to their parents, it can be a very emotionally trying experience for all involved. Most parents are concerned for the welfare of their children, recognizing the difficulties posed by being a member of a stigmatized group. Often parents also fear rejection by their own family, friends, religious, or social groups. Support exists for parents who are struggling to come to terms with their child’s homosexuality. Various organizations comprised of the families of gay men, lesbians, and bisexuals provide information and assistance to parents and families. Family or individual psychotherapy can be very helpful in dealing with questions and concerns about a gay child.





Sexual Behavior

Today, the term "human sexual behavior" sounds so familiar and is so widely used that it may be hard to imagine a time when it was unknown. After all, the human race has always consisted of two sexes and these have always felt drawn to each other. Indeed, men and women have always engaged in intimate physical intercourse and thereby produced new life. Moreover, we can assume that most of them knew what they were doing, and thus, when we talk about human sexual behavior, we seem to be talking about a simple and universal concept as old as mankind itself.
When we examine the professional language of our own time, we discover that the term "sexual behavior" can have three different basic meanings, depending on the background and scientific interest of the writer. The term “sexual behavior” can refer to:
1. All actions and responses that make fertilization possible.
2. Any behavior that involves a "sexual response" of the body.
3. All actions and responses related to pleasure seeking.

Percent of population having had first intercourse, by age
Males
Females
25% by age 15
26% by age 15
37% by age 16
40% by age 16
46% by age 17
49% by age 17
62% by age 18
70% by age 18
69% by age 19
77% by age 19
85% by age 20-21
81% by age 20-21
89% by age 22-24
92% by age 22-24







Human Sexual Response

The sexual response cycle has four phases: excitement, plateau, orgasm, and resolution. Both men and women experience these phases, although the timing usually is different. For example, it is unlikely that both partners will reach orgasm at the same time. In addition, the intensity of the response and the time spent in each phase varies from person to person. Understanding these differences may help partners better understand one another's bodies and responses, and enhance the sexual experience.
Phase 1: Excitement
General characteristics of the excitement phase, which can last from a few minutes to several hours, include the following:
· Muscle tension increases.
· Heart rate quickens and breathing is accelerated.
· Skin may become flushed (blotches of redness appear on the chest and back).
· Nipples become hardened or erect.
· Blood flow to the genitals increases, resulting in swelling of the woman's clitoris and labia minora (inner lips), and erection of the man's penis.
· Vaginal lubrication begins.
· The woman's breasts become fuller and the vaginal walls begin to swell.
· The man's testicles swell, his scrotum tightens, and he begins secreting a lubricating liquid.
Phase 2: Plateau
General characteristics of the plateau phase, which extends to the brink of orgasm, include the following:
· The changes begun in phase 1 are intensified.
· The vagina continues to swell from increased blood flow, and the vaginal walls turn a dark purple.
· The woman's clitoris becomes highly sensitive (may even be painful to touch) and retracts under the clitoral hood to avoid direct stimulation from the penis.
· The man's testicles are withdrawn up into the scrotum.
· Breathing, heart rate, and blood pressure continue to increase.
· Muscle spasms may begin in the feet, face, and hands.
· Muscle tension increases.
Phase 3: Orgasm
The orgasm is the climax of the sexual response cycle. It is the shortest of the phases and generally lasts only a few seconds. General characteristics of this phase include the following:
· Involuntary muscle contractions begin.
· Blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing are at their highest rates, with a rapid intake of oxygen.
· Muscles in the feet spasm.
· There is a sudden, forceful release of sexual tension.
· In women, the muscles of the vagina contract. The uterus also undergoes rhythmic contractions.
· In men, rhythmic contractions of the muscles at the base of the penis result in the ejaculation of semen.
· A rash, or "sex flush" may appear over the entire body.
Phase 4: Resolution
During resolution, the body slowly returns to its normal level of functioning, and swelled and erect body parts return to their previous size and color. This phase is marked by a general sense of well-being, enhanced intimacy and, often, fatigue. Some women are capable of a rapid return to the orgasm phase with further sexual stimulation and may experience multiple orgasms. Men need recovery time after orgasm, called a refractory period, during which they cannot reach orgasm again. The duration of the refractory period varies among men and usually lengthens with advancing age.




Sex Education

Sex education, which is sometimes called sexuality education or sex and relationships education, is the process of acquiring information and forming attitudes and beliefs about sex, sexual identity, relationships and intimacy. Sex education is also about developing young people's skills so that they make informed choices about their behavior, and feel confident and competent about acting on these choices. It is widely accepted that young people have a right to sex education. This is because it is a means by which they are helped to protect themselves against abuse, exploitation, unintended pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases and HIV and AIDS. It is also argued that providing sex education helps to meet young people’s rights to information about matters that affect them, their right to have their needs met and to them enjoy their sexuality and the relationships that they form.
Today, there are two different types of sex education classes. Depending on what your state or local school district mandates, your teen will either be learning the Comprehensive Sexuality Education or the Abstinence-Only-Until-Marriage Program. These programs represent two completely different schools of thought.
Comprehensive Sexuality Education is a program that starts in kindergarten and continues through high school. It brings up age appropriate sexuality topics and covers the broad spectrum of sex education, including safe sex, STDs, contraceptives, masturbation, body image, and more. Abstinence-Only-Until-Marriage Programs emphasize abstinence from all sexual behaviors and do not cover information on contraceptives, STDs, masturbation, etc.
The impact of the rise in abstinence-only education remains a question. To date, no published studies of abstinence-only programs have found consistent and significant program effects on delaying the onset of intercourse. In 2007, a study ordered by the U.S. Congress found that middle school students who took part in abstinence-only sex education programs were just as likely to have sex (and use contraception) in their teenage years as those who did not. Abstinence-only advocates claimed that the study was flawed because it was too narrow and began when abstinence-only curricula were in their infancy, and that other studies have demonstrated positive effects.





Theories of Gender Development

Biological Approaches- This theory focuses on the biological factors such as genes, prenatal hormones and brain structures and functions to determine gender development that differs between males and females and potentially account for the experiences of us in those sexes. Biologically based research in gender development has looked at the difference between the sexes in infancy, searching for clues to gender- related characteristic in the earliest days of live. In one study 1-day-old female and male infants were shown two stimuli: a human face and a mobile made out of a picture of that face. Researchers found that the baby girls spend more time looking at the human face and the baby boys spent more time looking at the mobile picture. In a similar study infants from 3 to 8 months old found that males spent more time looking at typical boy things such as trucks and machines and females spent more time looking at typical girl toy such as dolls. These differences are thought to be biologically, not socially, based since young children have not yet been exposed to social experiences.

Evolutionary Psychology- This theory explores the thought that the differences between the genders are the product of millions of years of natural selection. Evolutionary Psychologist assert that the differences we see between contemporary men and women can be explained by the selection pressures, or environmental challenges, that confronted our distant human ancestors.
Sexual Selection- the male and female members of a species differ from each other because of differences in competition and choices.
Competition occurs among members of the same sex as the vie for the opportunity to mate with members of the opposite sex.
Choice is members of sex selecting the “lucky ones” which whom they will mate with.
Reproductive challenges for men and women-
Since women are only fertile for a limited amount of time and can only reproduce about once a year, women must be choosy in selecting partners, focusing on high quality. Because men are fertile from puberty throught the rest of their life they can focus of quantity, reproducing as often as possible and with a wide range of partners.


Social Cognitive Approaches- Focuses on how children learn about gender and how they come to occupy a particular gender identity, emphasizes both the way children internalize environment reinforces gender- related behavior. From this approach gender behavior is learned though reward and punishment, observational learning, and modeling. Children gain further information about gender roles from models of each sex. They learn how men and women behave by seeing their parents and other adults engage in gender- related behavior.
Gender- nonconforming behavior- children may be rewarded for engaging in gender-conforming behavior and punished for engaging in that does not fit with the expectations for their sex. An example of gender- conforming would be girls playing with dolls and boys playing with trucks. An example of gender non-conforming would be a girl playing with trucks and a boy cross- dressing around the house.
Gender Schema- a mental frame work for understanding what is considered appropriate behavior for females and males in their culture.

Social Role Theory- Eagly’s approach starts off by acknowledging that women are innately and directly involved in reproduction than men, and men are larger and stronger then women. Eagly proposed these differences result in a division of labor between the sexes. Women being more involved in the home and child caring and men being more likely to work outside the home.
Gender roles- Expectations for how females and males should think, act, and feel.
Gender Stereotypes- Overly general beliefs and expectations about what women and men are like.




The Psychology of Gender Differences

Cognitive Differences- Research has found that women are more likely to out perform men on tasks of verbal ability. While men are more likely to our perform women on tasks requiring a certain type of cognitive skill, visuospatial. These differences in verbal and visuospatial skill are relatively consistent, but rather small.
Gender similarities hypothesis- Hyde’s proposition that men and women are much more similar then they are different.

Gender Differences in Aggression
Aggression- Behaviors that are intended to harm another person.
The question is are men and women more aggressive? Since there are more then one type of aggression the answer depends on what type of aggression we are talking about.

Overt Aggression- Physically or verbally harming another person directly.
Men are more likely to be overtly aggressive then females. Boys at a young age are then girls to get in fights in which they are physically aggressive towards one another.

Conduct Disorder- A pattern of offensive behavior that violates the basic rights of others.
As children and adolescents boys are three times more likely to be diagnosed then girls. As adults men are more likely then women to be chronically hostile and to commit violent crimes.

Relational Aggression- Behavior that is meant to harm the social standing of another person.
Girls and woman are more likely to exhibit relational aggression. Relational aggression is usually shown by gossiping and spreading rumors.


Gender Differences in Sexuality
Sexuality-The ways people experience and express themselves as sexual beings.
Men are more likely to engage in casual sex and have a more lifetime sex partners compared to women. Men also report more frequent feelings of sexual arousal, are more prone to lust, have more frequent sexual fantasies, and rate the strength of their own sex drive higher then women. Men are more likely then women to masturbate, and have a more difficult time being sexually faithful in marriage. Compared to men, women show more change in their sexual patterns and sexual desire over their lifetime. For instance, to have had sexual experiences with same and opposite partners even with they identify themselves strongly are heterosexual or lesbian. On the other hand male sexuality may be more limited to particular targets of attraction.







Sex Variation- Sexual behaviors or sexual expressions different from the norm of heterosexual behavior focusing on sexual intercourse as the main expression of sexuality.
Transexualism represents a severe strangeness of physiological sex, gender identity, and role. Adolescents and adults with a gender identity disorder (transsexuals) know which sex corresponds to their body and the gender in which they were raised. Instead of being comfortable with this gender identity and role, however, they experience discomfort, called gender dysphoria. They believe that the other gender role is more appropriate and consistent with how they feel about themselves (their gender identity). This leads them to seek out medical procedures to alter their body and social presentation to correspond with their gender identity. Transsexuals may be either male-to-female or female-to-male. The frequencies of both of these types of transsexuals vary among different societies.


Homosexuality: A sexual orientation that is also a variation in gender identity and role. Lesbians and gay men fall in love and are sexually attracted to people of the same sex instead of the other sex. This aspect of a person's gender identity is usually revealed in sexual fantasies in adolescence or young adulthood. This variation may come as a surprise to some; to others it explains the incongruity of gender identity and role that was present from earlier childhood but not understood as sexual orientation. Individuals go through a process of adjusting to this newly revealed component of their gender identity, which is sometimes confusing and upsetting.
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Sexual Disorders:
Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder-both men and women feel nothing; the causes of HSDD vary, and often depend on which type of HSDD you are dealing with. Some causes of hypoactive sexual desire disorder can include various health/medical problems, drug interactions, psychiatric problems, low levels of testosterone, or high levels of prolactine. In many cases, the causes of HSDD are simply unknown.

Female Sexual Arousal Disorder-difficult in achieving or maintaining lubrication. The causes of FSAD are quite complicated. For some women, FSAD is a lifelong disorder; they have never experienced a normal lubrication-swelling response. For other women FSAD develops after illness or emotional trauma, through physiological changes, or as a side effect of surgery, radiation therapy for cancer, or medication. FSAD can be generalized, occurring with different partners and in many different settings, or it can be situation-specific, occurring only with certain partners or under particular circumstances. In addition, FSAD may be due either to psychological factors or to a combination of physiological and psychological factors.

Male Erectile Disorder-difficult in achieving or maintaining erection, according to studies, this is caused by anxiety about sexual performance.

Dyspareunia- painful intercourse, due to medical or psychological causes.

Vaginismus- an involuntary contraction of outer 3rd of vagina muscles precluding sex. There are many possible causes of vaginismus. One example is an upbringing in which sex was considered wrong or sinful—as in the case of some strict religious backgrounds. This is common among women with this disorder. Concern that penetration is going to be painful, such as during a first sexual experience is another possible cause. It is also thought that women who feel threatened or powerless in their relationship may subconsciously use this tightening of the vaginal muscles as a defense or silent objection to the relationship. A traumatic childhood experience, such as sexual molestation, is thought to be a possible cause of vaginismus. Acquired-type vaginismus is often the result of sexual assault or rape.

Premature Ejaculation Disorder-ejaculation prior to penetration, Psychological factors such as anxiety, guilt, or depression can cause premature ejaculation. In some cases, premature ejaculation may be related to an underlying medical cause such as hormonal problems, injury, or a side effect of certain medicines.

Sexuality Wellness:
10 Way to keep your sex life healthy and well are:
1.) Overall Exercise
2.) Pole Dancing
3.) Salsa Lessons
4.) Strip Aerobics
5.) Chair Dancing
6.) Belly Dancing
7.) Naked Yoga
8.) Zumba
9.) Bollywood
10.) Hula Hooping
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Questions:

1.) What are the men and women’s sexual organs?
2.) Define gender identify?.
3.) Name and describe the third phase in the human sexual response.
4.) What is gender development?
5.) Name one way to have your sexual organs stay healthy.